General Anesthesia (GA) allows routine or complex dental treatment to be performed in an unconscious state. This is the method employed in hospital operating rooms. It begins with a gas that is inhaled through a mask, and then is augmented with medication delivered through an IV line. The IV can be placed after your child is comfortable, so it works well for all patients. We do everything we can to make sure your child has a comfortable visit. Most of our team has children of their own, so your child will be in good hands with someone who can relate to them in a way that they feel comfortable and safe.
General anesthesia is the most common form of sedation used for children needing a lot of dentistry done in one visit. It requires specialized equipment and is administered by an anesthesia specialist who, along with the anesthesia team of Registered Nurses will ensure a safe visit. There are special precautions to follow before the visit which will be reviewed with you in detail.
The goal of this visit is to get all the treatment your child needs completed and hopefully not to repeat the anesthesia, so it is important that after treatment we optimize oral hygiene and dietary precautions to reduce the risk of decay.
When decay in a tooth is too deep for a filling, and the nerve of the tooth will be affected and likely to result in an abscess, we clean out the top portion of the tooth and nerve, cover it all up with a medicated material and then a filling or stainless steel crown if the damage is too extensive for a filling. The tooth usually functions normally until it is lost. tooth (which you can’t always tell from the x-ray) and the best scenario for your child is a pulpotomy (root canal for baby teeth) and a metal or ceramic crown to avoid abscess and maintain the space for the adult teeth to erupt. It could also be the case that due to an existing abscess or decay more extensive than previously visible prior to treatment, that a tooth should be removed to avoid future complication. Therefore, you should be prepared for changes to the plan as it unfolds.
You will be given an appointment time that we will do our best to adhere to, however the nature of these appointments makes our schedule a little unpredictable. We schedule according to the expected length of each treatment with a buffer, however some patients take longer to sedate, or longer to recover, or the treatment takes longer than anticipated. We understand this can be irritating, however the other option is treatment in the hospital OR, with a 6-9 month wait, and a high probability you will wait much longer, or the surgery will be cancelled if something more urgent takes priority. Our anesthesiologist travels from Toronto to work a tight schedule with our office, and there is a long list of patients needing treatment so we cannot routinely overbook appointment times.
The most common side effect (although still rare) of anesthesia is nausea. If a child’s stomach has food in it, this content can be aspirated (inhaled) during emesis (vomiting). It is of the utmost importance that all preoperative instructions are followed, especially how the child needs to go without food/drink prior to surgery. Please contact us if any instructions are unclear or if you have any questions.
Please follow post-anesthesia instructions given. As for the dental treatment, your child can eat with the new fillings as soon as they are interested in doing so. There will be some discomfort around areas where teeth were removed, and that is expected. It should last a few days.
Please ask a team member at any time while you are in our office, or call us at any time. If you have questions after hours, you can page a team member by calling our office and listening to the instructions on the recording. We are here to help.